Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Blog 23. What is Love?

 (A lesson from the philosophical revelations contained in Wile-e-Coyote expositions)
Never mind Keats and his arrested lovers on that Grecian Urn. Forget Romeo & Juliet and their immature rebellious love, Verona’s Bella & Edward with about the same amount of blood. As for Anthony & Cleopatra, anything that ends in clasping asps to bosoms is surely not to be held up as an example to the impressionable young. No – almost every essential element of the madness and obsession of love, the unrequited pent up passion is exposed in the timeless, beautiful, lyrical interaction between Wile-e-Coyote &Roadrunner.
In philosophical explorations of the deep, spiritually complex wisdoms to be learnt from Wile-e, I do not claim (I am not that foolish) that a full appreciation of all of life’s intricate conundrums can be unravelled by this genius. Clearly Wile-e-Coyote seems never to have studied Zeno (490 – 425BC) and The Paradoxes of Motion. Nor even Ockham (1288 – 1358) who stated what now seems to be the plainly obvious – i.e. the simplest route or explanation to resolving any problem is most likely to be the truest and best. Simplicity is anathema to Wile-e’s over-reliance on Acme products. Some might argue that Acme is Trotsky to Wile-e’s Lenin, and we all know how that ended!
At some point, but not here and not today, we might wish to pin down whether Wile-e is a Hedonist or a Nihilist but I digress. It is nearly February so let us focus on Love.
Despite being a poet I make no claims for understanding love. I’ve sadly failed in that particular poetic duty to write drearily and often on the subject. My only offerings in that direction take the form of one apparently obsessive piece about language and punctuation (even though the latter is often sadly lacking in my everyday writing.) A second concerns how much I love my washing machine and a third focuses on the erotic lives of snails and appears in The Iron Anthology of Humorous Verse (2010)
But Wile-e-Coyote, week after week, episode after episode wants one thing and one thing only. Unlike the aforementioned Romeo & Juliet, Ant & Cleo or even Ant & Dec, there is no hint ever of another object of passion. While-e wants Roady and if ever there is any doubt as to Roady’s real feelings, if ever the coyote looks to be flagging or loosing heart, Roady pops up to taunt him with such an obvious chase-me, chase-me come-on it’s nothing short of blatant. Some would say cruel. Wile-e dreams and schemes, risks his health and wellbeing in the face of almost certain failure. He is solitary and lacking in anything remotely approaching pride or self esteem. He is in the clutches of, at the mercy of the deep all-consuming desire we know as love.
Wile-e is so in the zone he even channels Descartes -I think therefore I am. Undoubtedly this forms the basis for the tenuous alternative reality created by Wile-e every time he paints a false road or tunnel that Roady then actually manages to run along or pass through. Wile-e then plummets to his inevitable temporary doom as the limitations of that surrealism, which he supports for the object of his desire, collapses in on his lovelorn desire-depleted self. It is his version of love poetry showing itself mere ephemera once the target of his yearning is past.  The chase, although moving before our eyes unlike Keats’s Urn-bound lovers, is nevertheless seemingly everlasting.
We must conclude that the masters of literature have little to tell us that we could not learn in 3 minutes from a Wile-e-Coyote theatre piece.
In summary – love is an anvil on the head and going back for more!
In a future blog post we may get round to examining one of Wile-e-Coyote’s other major contributions to philosophical thinking,
Shit Happens!

For further reading on the subject of odd couples and extreme but unusual love try -
Eating the Vinyl
avail on amazon in hard copy or e-book :)

Next week – possibly
‘Thanks for holding - our agents know you are waiting!’

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Blog 22. Drink Driving with my Dad (& other happy memories)

While contemplating surviving another Christmas, an evocative memory unexpectedly erupted from the depths. It was so forceful, it caused that wobbly, panicked sensation you get when you put your weight on a stepping stone which isn't as stable as you’d thought.

I close my eyes and just about smell the tobacco, plastic, damp, petrol-fumy interior of the Triumph Herald. It’s noisy inside the car and I can sense the bumps in the road through the sub frame. Outside in the night, there are smudges of sulphurous yellow from the streetlights. Otherwise it’s dark with a density made more intense by being inside this square tin can on Christmas Eve in about 1971. I’m with my Dad. Just me. My brother and sister usually don’t get to do this. I don’t know if they don’t want to (my older brother) or maybe they aren't allowed (my younger sister) but this is precious, middle child, eldest daughter Dad time.

We have just started out and it’s cold - so cold. I have that electric zing in the pit of my stomach that only a child who really believes in absolutely everything about Christmas can have. I feel I may go off like popcorn.

Mum has parcelled everything up and Dad has been dispatched with labelled bags, orders and me (a time chaperone). As if my presence will get him home quicker. Once in the car and away from the house we may as well have driven through enchanted gates to wonderland. A wonderland made of darkness, expectation and the illicit joy of an apparently purposeful journey that is bound to end in nothing but delight.

There’s no need to speak. I don’t get the ‘how to behave at other folk’s houses’ speech I would get from mum. Dad knows I know. Maybe that’s why I am allowed. I’m no better than a kid should be but I know that politeness can result in sweets and rich dark cake in the black households, mince pies, maybe a special thing off the tree in the white abodes. Quietness means you can listen in on the adults’ chat or sneak off with any other children that may be there and not be checked.

And my dad is one of those people who others are always pleased to see so arriving with him is, in itself, a treat. They invite him in. For form’s sake he initially refuses as he has other houses to visit. Sometimes I am left to wait in the car to reinforce the fiction that we do not expect to linger. Then we go in. Dad is pressed to take a drink. Again he refuses. And before I know it he is on the sofa with (if it is one of his relations or work colleagues) a canned beverage which is always poured into a tumbler before drinking or (if it is a maternal relation) subtler, heavier liquid in a small patterned glass with a pungent smell that reminds me of Christmas pudding then dominoes may appear. I have a drink and something sweet to eat or some treat that says ‘Christmas Eve food’. In the white houses the TV is usually on and in the black its music.

A while later – time that as a child I cannot possibly guess at - we return to the car. Although the cold in the car is fierce I have residual warmth inside me emanating outwards. It will keep me going until the next house.

We drive.

In the car dad will have a cigarette. I love the smell. The windows are open just a crack because of the temperature. This is different to the summer when dad drives with his right arm resting on the fully open window blowing the smoke out like – he tells me – James Dean. But I doubt James Dean’s arm turned a cruel red and blistered. Although I am brown – unlike my brother and sister but like my dad – I also burn in too much sun.
We visit house after house. Uncles and aunts, some work contacts, friends, and neighbours. No one seems to mind what time it is and towards the end I have to force myself to stay awake. My excitement is dulled a little by a slight belly ache and fatigue but the night has become no less magical.

It’s only as an adult that it occurred to me that my Dad must, on these wonderful, wonder-filled blissful nights, have been as pissed as a newt.

In case anyone misconstrues this little blog – it is not homage to drink driving and other dangerous habits. My father died an unpleasant death from lung cancer five months to the day after he retired. No. This is about magic and love and innocence. When I recalled these memories I got a tiny echo of the gut wrenching thrill of a Christmas that was special partly because of those trips in the Triumph Herald. That time was also wonderful because as kids we were not constantly bombarded with acquisition. Christmas didn't’ start in July.  We weren't surrounded all year by possessions we didn't want and hadn't asked for or stuff we did want and had asked for but got too easily.

I also had no idea how lucky I was to experience the dual tastes, smells, sounds of both a white and black Christmas. It was just different types of bliss to me.

Curmudgeon that I am (I stringently avoid most of the commercialism now), I still like Christmas in essence. There is something intrinsically pleasing about a festival that centres on joy whether you take the Christian view or the pagan one of celebrating the survival of the darkest part of the year.  I’m not unusual in resenting the commercial excess of Christmas. Back in that Triumph Herald, Christmas and the annual celebration of the rejection of darkness still had a beating heart. We were consumers then but not quite to destructive excess. Now we are devoured by Consumerism in the same way my dad was overwhelmed by cancer.

Friday, 18 January 2013

21.5 Thanks & Sorry!

A great big THANK YOU to all those who hit my blog launch last week.

Sorry to those who came to the blog this week after the press picked it up expecting to find dragons and instead got a satirical article about world woes. Just a little time lag problem!

So to be clear - if you were in search of dragony stuff and all that jazz, that was last Tuesday's blog. Just scroll down to Tuesday 8th January.

My 'brown girl' blog is posted every Tuesday.

Kind regards
Amanda Baker

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Blog 21. Save the Emperor’s Genitals!

Ridiculous wealth is ridiculous!
Rich people shit and die; they’re just less likely to die in shit.
Now if that hasn’t been said before it should have been and if it has – please accept apologies for not crediting you whoever you are.
(Yes – it’s back to the usual after last week’s lovely dragony blaunch and thanks to everyone who attended).
It’s a horrible phrase – the one crammed into the fast talky bit on the end of breathy advertisements trying to persuade you you’re the last person on the planet to get a new car / sofa / kitchen / boob job, - ‘subject to status’. In other words - we’ll treat you differently if you’re skint. We KNOW!
If your mental pores are clogged up with the poisonous deceit that acquisition of wealth is intrinsically desirable, if you’ve been force-fed t like some stupid goose, the nonsense that society needs extremely wealthy individuals because prosperity trickles down or we need more of everything to prevent obscene numbers of the world’s population starving, until you intellectual liver is fit for spreading on toast - it’s ok – here are a few cerebral exercises to help.
Remember that kid at school - you know the one – the kid who no one wanted to play with because he would slink off to a corner to eat his sweets. He would sneak them up to his mouth and try and chew and swallow them without anyone noticing, not really enjoying them himself but making sure no one else got any. Well – grown up – he’s that knacker with his unspendable affluence in an offshore account avoiding tax.
Try this one – think of that person dead (no – stay with me – it’s actually a handy thing to think about occasionally). How many people around look gloomy? How many people are smiling maybe remembering the cool things about him? How many people are crying? And how many people are smirking or looking at their watches wondering how long till they can leave and cross their fake grief off their ‘to do’ list? I’m sure there’ll be an equation soon showing an increased percentage in this last category directly proportional to the size of the deceased’s horded assets.
This is not about people who got rich as a sideline to the main drive of their life. Maybe they started a business or excelled in their chosen field and the pay just got bigger.  Though even here – maybe some thought needs to be given to what to do with that by-product so it doesn’t take over the person. If acting or singing or writing or setting up a design company or inventing stuff was your thing – is running three houses going to allow you to live three lives? Will owning 8 cars allow 8 journeys to be taken at the same time? No – this is about wealth for the sake of it, just having, just acquiring and then sitting on the pile making sure no one else gets any. It could be a pile the person got themselves or one bequeathed by ancestors as a result of historic success in getting more land/slaves/oil/coal/bits of jewellery than anyone else. We all know piles are uncomfortable and you shouldn’t sit on them.
Beware of the lies surrounding wealth. Apparently ever bigger companies need to be given rights to own the means of sustenance (surely the very air we breathe soon) they will protect crops so that more can be grown and the poor can eat. BUT never in the history of mankind have we had such sophisticated methods of producing and shipping food. Never in the history of mankind have we been able to extract such huge quantities of calories from controlled processing. Never in the history of the world have so many people been starving and so many people dying of the effects of excess. It’s the equation that’s wrong.
There is a good reason why greed is one of the seven deadly sins. It’s bad for the haves as well as the have-nots.
But the privileged few pay the deafening piper who bangs out the tune of selective envy. Never mind the guy who draws excessive remuneration from sitting on the boards of international companies but contributes little if anything in taxes – look at the guy next door living on benefits. In other words – look away from the fat hogs gorging on the ever creaking table of opulence and overabundance – concentrate on the guy next to you who may have a slightly bigger crumb than the one you scrapped up from under the table. And you only have to listen to even the most highly regarded pedlars of news to know that we are all falling for it.
It is mad, the emperor is not wearing any clothes, we are plugged into the matrix, we are going to hell in a handcart – it’s just that some are getting a comfy ride and some are doing the hauling.
Ok try this one.  Jimmy Carr - never really my cuppa in terms of comedy but boy do I think of him as a figure of fun now – and forever. And yet in another way it’s very unfunny. Isn’t it?
Ok try this one. How can two bits of material sewn together (common name – a handbag) ever be worth more than say £40 – let alone £4K+? Ditto a dress / pair of shoes.  There are so many naked emperors blobbing about (and in this weather) it’s a wonder FEG (frozen emperor genitals) isn’t the new top cause of preventable death in the 21st century.
Its common knowledge that if the (so called) developed world stopped buying shit we don’t need, the global economy would collapse. It is also well known that many of the countries where the largest numbers of people regularly die of starvation grow cash crops for the west instead of food for themselves. Why aren’t we all running down the street gaga? I know - there are so many naked emperors everywhere we’re scared of bumping into them and their horrible blue shrivelled...

Next week (possibly
Wile-e-coyote – the social and philosophical importance of – but only if I have time to do the research!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

20. Blaunch – Eleanor & the Dragon Runt

20. Blaunch – Eleanor & the Dragon Runt
Forgetting the usual bloggy rants we’re starting 2013 with a blaunch (blog book launch).
If you (or any 11 – 14 year-olds you know) are up for some quirky, fast-paced dragon fiction with time travel, peril, unconventional heroes, big dragon battles, romance (a bit) bravery (a lot), humour, inventiveness, engaging characters, revolting villains, bigger dragons, more battles, extraordinary creatures, time/universe-crossed relationships and a few more dragons, then Eleanor & the Dragon Runt is now available on Amazon. Buy in traditional format or download as an e-book.
N.B All the Eleanor books are published under pseudonym Adnam Arekab.
Having not done a blaunch before but happy to be missing out on sitting in libraries or book shops hoping someone will turn up, I’ll make it up as I go along. There are a couple of the fab illustrations (by artist Rosie Swan) in the photo bit of the profile section of this blog from the earlier Eleanor Chronicles and here is a totally random sample from the new book plus a little dragon skirmish from book 1 just for fun.
Part 8.
Cur Ogroo is Really Really Annoyed
Cur Ogroo’s spiteful fury was massively out of proportion to his injuries. After all he had been flying a dragon that was merely surprised when it felt the snag on its leg. A rudimentary weighted lasso and a simple wooden door were nothing to the brute. The tug on Cold Blood’s bulk only just registered. It was the sudden distraction that had caused him to fumble badly and as he was already flying very low this led to the unscheduled, bumpy and degrading crash on top of the innkeeper’s shed. Ogroo had been thrown clear. He was well-fleshed, and simply got bruised and a bit bashed about. What hurt was the humiliation, the disgrace, the discredit; he’d had a stomach full of that. Though obviously none would laugh openly at Ogroo, the paid thugs had been too busy sniggering at his clownish landing to give full energy to pursuing the stragglers who might have been caught. What peeved Cur Ogroo almost beyond endurance was the audacity, the cheek, the nerve. What truly grated was that as he turned to the direction he thought his would-be assassin had come from he saw a very small ragged child disappearing into the shadows. No warrior, no veteran of dragon battles, no giant of a man, no Time Strider, no lord, no Enquate with their strange abilities. No! A child. A small, ragged unarmed child. Ogroo was spitting. He was breaking things, he was raging and screaming. He was pulling at his thick oily hair. He was kicking (people and things), punching (things and people) and throwing stuff and using awfully bad language.
Through it all Zek sat at ease in a chair by the fire occasionally watching Ogroo out of one eye as if that were all he could spare. They had taken over the undamaged parts of the inn and Cold Blood was stomping round on the ruins of the barn while very nervous men were feeding it hastily slaughtered, still warm remains of cows and sheep. Cold Blood tore at the carcasses, ripping skin and bone and flesh with no more effort than a man would rip fresh bread. The men watched in fascinated horror. Most had never seen a dragon up close before and even those who had been in the ranks of Ogroo’s men for a while still found themselves drawn, with tingling in their bones, to the malevolence and barely contained power of the gigantic creature that was their master’s pet. The other two bull dragons were penned outside the town being fed and placated also.
“No resistance, says you,” bellowed Ogroo at Zek “and I am brought down before a single townsman is killed.” 
“A mishap.”
“The men were laughing at me.”
“They are easily amused.”
“If they laugh at me eventually they will not fear me.”
“It was just a boy,” Zek almost tutted. Ogroo was being such a great big whining lout.
“And that is supposed to make it better?” squeaked Cur incredulously.
“It was an unforeseen anomaly.” 
“Unforeseen? Then what is the point of you?”
“I said unforeseen not unforeseeable. Part of seeing is knowing what you are looking for.”
“Oh well that is alright then,” responded Cur with bitter sarcasm.
“The fact is we have taken the town. We have new lands, properties –“
“Most of them smashed and or burned –“
“By your men. There must be more discipline.”
“I didn’t hire them because they were polite. I don’t pay them to be refined.”
“The fact remains that we have done what we set out to achieve. Word will get back to Moreth and then we will have not just dragons and mercenaries but heightened fear, sharpened apprehension in our arsenal. Stop whining like a girl.”
For a moment Ogroo actually thought about picking up the bundle of rags and hurling him into the fire. He clenched his enormous fists and then bit the knuckles on his right hand. Self control was not his forte. As if he could read Ogroo’s thoughts, Zek looked from him to the fire and back again and gave what may have been a smirk. Ogroo stomped out of the room and Zek went to sleep.
And here’s a bit of a dragon scrap from book 1.
Part 7.

Eleanor Catherine - Time Strider - Dragon Slayer

Becomes the Hero of the Roaming Woods

...then there seemed no gap anymore between them, Eleanor and the dragon.
Eleanor was not certain if she voluntarily squeezed Tarn’s flanks but the brave animal was charging forward, head high. And so it was that before the dragons were even aware of Eleanor’s presence, she successfully scored Derf twice with her sword on the inside of his left leg. Tarn had carried her out of harm’s way into a thicket by the time the enraged creature let out its first fire blast. There was noise, confusion, stomping and crashing around. A small tree immediately to Eleanor’s right was trampled, it lurched alarmingly towards Eleanor but again Tarn bore her away before the heavy trunk hit the forest floor. Then there was pandemonium. In the confines of the trees, Gobbit twice blasted Derf with flames on the leading dragon’s haunches. Although scales mostly repelled the flames, the chaos increased, confusing the dragons. Eleanor, carried by Tarn, darted away, reappeared around the front of Derf, rushing in, slashing and escaping like a wood spirit. Derf stamped about unable to get the girl in his sights, trampling more trees and howling in pain and frustration. Gobbit urged Derf forward. The lead dragon turned, roaring at Gobbit thinking he was being attacked from behind. Seizing the opportunity, Eleanor scooted up onto her feet and was in a crouching position on Tarn’s back; it felt as if her feet were on solid ground. The graceful mare lowered its head and aimed for the gap between Derf’s front talons, slowing at the perfect moment. Eleanor, having sheathed her bloody sword, grasped two shorter knives from hip holsters and slashed at the more exposed inner flesh of the dragon’s legs. Derf reared up, blowing flames into the tops of the trees and he crashed down to earth just as Tarn veered to the left and out of the path of his massive feet.
“Evil wood spirit, forest ghost,” roared Derf. 
“Dragon maid you fool,” answered Gobbit, “go forward, go forward.”
Through the trees, a sure shot from Eleanor’s sling landed dead centre and hard on one of Derf’s front claws. Crack. The talon fractured. Then a second faultless aim. Smash. Derf staggered on damaged front legs. Eleanor knew that it was now or never for her next move. Coming at the bull dragon fast from behind while there was scarcely enough distance between Gobbit and Derf for her to do so, she slashed at both hind legs with her long sword. Just then the moon cleared and Gobbit got his first clear sight of the ghost Slayer. Sucking oxygen down into his massive lungs with a deep rumble, he let out a salvo of flame that set alight all the trees to right and left. Dragon flame lasts only seconds for each blast but is a fierce flame. Eleanor got her ceramic-faced shield up just in time but nevertheless was aware of a blistering heat on her left thigh. Tarn must have been scorched too, even with the ceramic protection but she did not waver, carrying Eleanor across the path between the two dragons, through the burning undergrowth and to the relative safety of denser trees. Eleanor was panting, gasping for breath and she was indirectly aware of the foul stench coming from the gore on her sword and knives. The dragons were still moving towards the glade, faster now. To stand any chance of success, Eleanor realised that she must finish with the first dragon before they cleared the trees. She must put the odds in her favour. She must do it now. For a precious moment Eleanor listened, judged. It was evident that the second dragon was trying to get past the first. Gently, quietly, Tarn moved back towards the path of the dragons. What stunned Eleanor more than the sheer size of the beasts in a clear shaft of moonlight was that they seemed if one listened carefully, to be talking. Yes! She was sure of it.
“I am hurt.”
“Kill maid.”
“Legs hurt.”
“Move, I cannot get past.”
“Turn back.”
“Must kill the dragon maid.”
“Why not kill easier meat.”
“Mortensa and Cold Bull will eat us if we fail. Move”
The first dragon must have stopped. Closer still, Eleanor could make out that the beast was half lying on its side trying to reach a wound in its hind leg. Eleanor dismounted soundlessly. She patted Tarn’s flank and the animal melted back a few feet. Eleanor breathed deeply three times and then raced forward, focused on the exposed underbelly of the first dragon. Eleanor was relying on its bulk to shield her from the second creature while she did what she had to do. As she ran she tossed her shield to her right hand and her sword to her left, catching each deftly and securely. Gobbit saw his adversary at the last instant as she sprang towards the floored beast. Gobbit roared flame at her. The flame that was not blocked by Derf’s exposed haunches, Eleanor avoided behind her shield. Comprehending his situation, Derf tried to right himself but he was too big and the space to cramped. Eleanor thrust her sword into the dragon’s underbelly maintaining a vice-like grip on the hilt. For the briefest time she seemed to hang from the sword. Eleanor pulled up her knees so that she was defended behind her shield as Gobbit shot out another blast of flame. Then she felt the sword move, it was the downward motion Eleanor had hoped for. Her weight was just enough to force the cutting blade to slice through the thick dragon hide. Derf roared and kicked with his damaged legs but Eleanor did not let go until the very last second when there was a danger of her being crushed by the flailing beast. Still with her shield in place, she braced her feet against the dragon’s flesh, slippery with gore. Then Eleanor stretched her long legs to lever out the blade. She jumped the remaining three feet, landing squarely on the forest floor. Eleanor was about to run for cover of the trees, any trees, when Tarn appeared at a gallop, eyes bulging in panic and swerving her flank towards Eleanor. Almost too late Eleanor understood what the horse was about. The second dragon was clambering over the carcass of the first and was almost upon them. At the initial attempt to mount, Eleanor nearly lost her footing in the slime that was now oozing over the forest floor. Tarn dipped down and Eleanor grasped the charcoal mane to steady herself and then she was on Tarn’s back racing through the trees with a mad bull dragon in hot pursuit – really hot pursuit. Eleanor held her shield to her back, gripping Tarn fiercely with her knees. She kept her head low so that the horse had only to judge its own height in avoiding branches and thick boughs and they accelerated away from the fire lizard. Eleanor and Tarn made it to the tree-less space brief seconds before the enraged monster. Tarn turned sharply at the far side of the clearing and Eleanor was facing the position where the beast would emerge. Quicker than an impulse, Eleanor had her bow in her hand fixed with an arrow. Then she was waiting. Eleanor breathed deeply to steady her arm. One beat, two beats, three… Tarn stood braced, steady as bedrock.  
Gobbit hesitated for just long enough in the unexpected space. Eleanor’s eye, arm, brain and nerve worked in the same instant and the first, second and third arrow went directly into the dragon’s nostrils, perhaps the only place where they could do any serious damage. A fourth glanced off a scale as Gobbit dipped his massive head sending out a spurt of flame but by then Eleanor was being carried away. The mare raced through the trees round the rim of the clearing breaking out again to the dragon’s side. Eleanor dismounted, as Tarn understood she must. The bow, which was of no more use, had been thrown down. Eleanor, holding her sword in her right hand and shield on her left forearm, stepped into the dragon’s direct vision. Eleanor sensed her blood had never pumped so hard or so fast. She felt she could fly. She was strong. No! She was invincible right then and she yelled,
“Know me dragon. Fear me. I am Eleanor Catherine and a Dragon Slayer.”
Eleanor laughed at the sound of her own words, the power of her life force sparking around her. For a stammer of time the dragon actually faltered. Then he remembered that he was a dragon. He was big. He had fire and this was just a maid, a maid who would soon be maid meat. Nevertheless, faced with the girl’s astounding bravery, it was not without misgiving that the bull dragon advanced to carry out Mortensa’s orders. Lowering his head a second time, Gobbit shot out the strongest flame he could muster. When the orange and black heat cleared the girl was nowhere to be seen, dead or alive. There was however, a searing pain inside his leg, then another just below that one. Gobbit reared up throwing his head back, shooting more flame and stomping about the clearing making the ground shake. More pain between his left hind talons. Eleanor’s sword was lodged in his back foot, sapphires from the hilt glinted like the eyes of a mad phantom but there was no sign of the girl. Then the blade of a knife with a leather-bound handle was driven into the underside of his tail, then another. Gobbit flailed uselessly, roaring and shooting futile flame. Something or someone was then on his back. Gobbit was demented with rage.
In the Wood Dwellers camp many of the women had gathered their children and fled. Others scampered up trees. The sounds were eerie and terrible, mutilated as they were by the thick forest growth. From where they were, it was possible to see the orange glow of flames, even smell them. It was fearful. Most assumed Eleanor was already dead.
Eleanor clambered up the dragon’s scaly back, legs set apart for balance and twice she nearly tumbled off. Finally, sweating and panting, the fearless girl reached the dragon’s neck. With feet planted on either side of the dragon’s lower skull, Eleanor bent down drawing the short knives from their hip holsters. With a victorious roar Eleanor drove the double-edged blades into the scale-less places behind each ear. She drove them in up to the hilts. She pulled them out and forced them in again. In its death throes, the dragon threw itself about. Eleanor was dislodged, tumbling down the side of the dragon’s flank where she hit the forest floor hard and was winded. The beast nearly rolled over on top of her but Eleanor was up before she realised what she was doing. Gobbit flung his head round trying to reach Eleanor with flame or talon. Suddenly, one front claw caught Eleanor’s cape and she was dragged forward with her arm twisted under her. From behind the dragon’s bulky head, Tarn appeared, reared up and crashed her hooves down onto the dragon’s cheek. Hooves sparked against the scales. Tarn galloped away and then back, mouth open. Eleanor was just able to get her free arm to her side where she released the double-headed axe. In pain now and breathing heavily from long exertion, Eleanor brought the axe down in the only soft place she could reach, Gobbit’s eye. Another ground shaking roar but the fire shot harmlessly into the trees. Sawing through the cloak straps with a short blade, Eleanor was finally able to escape from the claw that had snagged her. She ran to the rear of the still moving beast and dragged her sword from its foot, then she breathed deeply again, collecting her thoughts. Avoiding talons and flame, Eleanor raced to the dragon’s side bent low. At the perfect moment the moon bathed the glade in milky light. Eleanor had an unrestricted view of the dragon’s underside. Gobbit had a clear view of the maid as she flew towards him sword drawn, but too late. The final action of the battle was swift, precise and deadly. Eleanor’s sword penetrated deeply and accurately enough to slice the dragon’s mean heart exactly in two.
Linnks for the dragon books are in the side column to this blog marked 'Amanda's Books'.
Thanks for reading and Happy 2013